Entertainment

Ontario to match Quebec's enhanced film credits

Two weeks after Quebec sweetened the pot for foreign film projects with a 25 per cent tax credit, Ontario has moved to match that incentive.

Two weeks after Quebec sweetened the pot for foreign film projects with a 25 per cent tax credit, Ontario has moved to match that incentive.

On Monday, the province announced it would allow a 25 per cent tax credit for the overall budget of films shot in Ontario, the same measure announced in Quebec June 12.

The move effectively doubles the film tax credits in Quebec and Ontario. The 25 per cent credit had previously applied only to labour costs, which are usually about half the cost of a production.

Purchase of props and rental of studios and other equipment can be covered under the new regime.

The changes take effect Tuesday in Ontario, in an attempt to bring film business to the province for the summer season.

Ontario's decision to match the Quebec credits increases the pressure on B.C., Canada's other large production centre, to follow suit.

B.C.'s film industry is studying the change, although its enhanced credits for visual effects work should give it an advantage.

Second improvement

All three provinces also provide a richer credit for shooting outside major centres such as Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto.

Quebec has had no major Hollywood shoots since 2007, when scenes from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button were shot in the province.

Several U.S. states have created enhanced tax credits to attract film production and international locations with low labour costs are also wooing filmmakers.

It is the second time this year the Ontario government has improved tax credits for the film industry, which it considers a major economic driver.

It offers a 35 per cent Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit for labour costs for productions that qualify as domestic. In February, it announced that credit, set to expire in 2010, would be made permanent.

Film and TV production generates approximately $2 billion annually for the Ontario economy and creates about 276,000 jobs.

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